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Suburban Island

Last Repair for Gordon
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2003, 8:17 p.m.

QUESTION: Who was Gordon Jump?

WHAT I LEARNED: Ads are people too.

image from www.maytag.com

We are saying goodbye to so many people lately - John Ritter, Johnny Cash, Robert Palmer. Now, in my quest for refrigerator knowledge, I have discovered the sad news that a favorite cultural icon of daily living and the simple suburban enterprise of uncomplicated and reliable washing, drying, cooling, and cooking, has departed for his heavenly home as well. His name was Gordon Jump.

Gordon Jump was someone you knew even if you have never heard of him. Gordon was the man behind the lonely Maytag repairman ads. The Maytag lonely repairman ads began running in 1967, which is why I feel like a little piece of my past has just slipped away. Gordon Jump, in his crisp blue repairman suit with matching cap and bright red bow tie, has been peering out at me in lady's magazines and keeping me company on commercial breaks for a good chunk of my existence on this mortal plane.

This seems to be happening more and more often - this lose of my personal cultural touchpoints - or maybe it just seems that way as I get older. And it is interesting that even though I don't really know any of these people personally, I have a personal attachment to them because they have held a small place in my life at some point, like small distinct threads woven through the cloth that is my daily life. They are part of me in that they form a tiny piece of my daily experience, and as such they cannot be dismissed as unimportant. I for one, am going to miss the unfortunate repairman with no repairs calls to make. Meanwhile, it looks like we are going to buy a Maytag refrigerator - a small testament perhaps to Gordon Jump and one of the longest successful ad campaigns in history.

Who knows - maybe when Ol' Lonely hits his heavenly home, it will come with a suite of heavenly Maytag products just for old time's sake.

Today’s Suburban Strategy: Are you under-appreciated?

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